It is Time to Learn
New Ways* to Design & Build
doing what gets in the way!
* The 590 page 2021 DFM book
has 814 topic section
EXECUTIVE OVERVIEW OF MASS CUSTOMIZATION
Mass Customization Overview for Unlimited versions
Mass Customization can easily build many product versions and options,
with all built to-order on-demand in any quantity in the
same flexible manufacturing facility
In general, dozens to thousands of SKUs (product variations) can be build
on-demand in any quantities at low cost, including orders for many niche
markets, country variations, or mass-customized for individual customers. The
Mass-Customization article on this site presents
illustrated examples of how this can be done for electronic products (Figure 1)
and fabricated products (Figure 2).
Both figures include manual assembly cells
(in the lower right) that shows how mass customization can be accomplished by
manual assembly, not always needing automation as many writers assume. In the
BTO & Mass Customization book, these figures and
descriptions are presented in Chapter 8.
For a 67 page Executive summary of the whole book, read Chapter 1 of the
book “Build-to-Order & Mass Customization.” (shown at
right). Dr. Anderson presents seminars and workshops customized for specific
companies on all
The following text presents far fewer versions, starting with one
(Mass Production) and hen few versions with large tooling components
One-size-fits-all (Mass Production)
Mass production thrived in the bygone era
of stable demand little product variety and no serious competition. At its peak,
the "any-color-as-long-as-it’s-black" Model T Ford had a 57% market share.
Despite its very low price of $245. However, it was pulled off its pedestal when
upstart General Motors offered variety such as color paint and other options.
Ford was slow to respond, mostly because mass production’s keys to its success
-- hard tooling, labor specialization, and economies of scale – prevented it
from offering variety or adapting quickly to emerging trends.
The paradigm is now shifting from Mass Production to
Designing Versatile Products
On the design side, multiple product geometries could be laid out in the same
Computer-Aided-Design models, simply by "stretching" the same parts for the other
version (called parametric CAD). Then, the thicknesses or strengths of different parts would
designed for their unique loads. The product architecture would be optimized
with standard portions which would be seamlessly integrated with all
This would not be limited to bolt-on
modules that have heavy interfaces. Rather, flexible processing could enable
a monolithic structure of either version. See the other
Management Overview about Flexible/Cellular
Versatility Takes No More Design Effort
the long run, it will require no more design effort to design
multiple versions up-front than it would design one and then the
In fact, the overall effort would be more
efficient with the same team and be better optimized as would be the interfaces with the common section.
Further, the white paper,
"Concurrent Engineering For Challenging Products shows that
thorough up-front work cuts product development resource demands in
Versatility Takes No More Calendar Time
The time elapsed time to design multiple versions would not be any more if the
design team was also trained on "Design for
Manufacturability & Concurrent Engineering,," which ensures that
the time-to-stable-production (the only "time to market" that
matters) is finished in half
the time, as shown in the article:
because of more thorough up-front work and better optimized
Designing and Building Versatile
Tooling and Fixturing
On the manufacturing side,
versatile fixtures and other processes could be concurrently engineered to
accommodate multiple versions without any
changeover delays. This would be accomplished by Flexible Manufacture as
techniques would manufacture different parts for each version on-demand.
Cutting Tooling Expense
Combining "n" tooling versions to one versatile design would cut
tooling design and the "tooling" to make the tolling by "n" times!
Eliminating Change-over delays and
Further, if multiple sets of different tooling try to share the same plant, each change-over could
delay production and all this would all this would add the following
costs over the mass-customized model because too sets of mass production
- would need more factory space
- need material handing equipment to move heavy tooling, and
- need extra labor to do the change-overs every time production
For a year, Dr. Anderson taught the Product
Development course at the Haas Graduate Business School at the
University of California at Berkeley.
a summary of this web page to your colleagues and managers:
Subject: Web article Management Overview of
I just found an Executive Overview* of Mass
This starts with the general case with no limits on
variety with links to a web site that has factory perspective layouts,
one for electronics and another for fabricated products. Managers
are referred to the first 67 pages of the author's BTO & Mass
Customization book, which summarized the 550 page book
The rest of the page addresses mass customizing
with much less product variety with significant tooling and factory
challenges , with particular attention to the conundrums that that
occur when variety is very low and tooling and factory challenges
are very high, pointing out how properly applied Mass Customization
principles can help.
Please send this around to all those who may benefit.
* That article is at
To discuss Mass Customization, send phone
For a secure form, go to: form
at the secure site: https;//design4manufacturability.com
The author of this article, Dr.
David M. Anderson, can be reached at 805-924-0100 or
He has published dozens of articles that are posted at
Copyright © 2021 by Dr. David M. Anderson,